How to Pick a Paralegal Training Program near Globe Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Globe AZ and begin your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational choices are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students start by searching for schools within driving distance of their Globe residences. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only qualifiers you should consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into account also. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you should ask potential paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your decision. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both fill the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Globe AZ attorneys with a wide variety of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their routine tasks may include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be complicated and very challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career as a paralegal in Globe AZ is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve just 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and may be acquired at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. Once you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and get a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few of the highly respected certifying organizations in the field are:
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- American Alliance of Paralegals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Association for Legal Professionals
By graduating with a paralegal degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help ensure your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
What to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges in the Globe AZ area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important issues to research also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Globe AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are usually offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact some Globe AZ law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to begin developing contacts within the Globe AZ legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from state to state, it may be a good idea to enroll in a legal assistant school located in Arizona or the state where you plan to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be important to establish relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to first look at those schools that are within the Globe AZ region.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost based on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be accessible to help reduce some of the expense, so don’t forget to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Globe AZ. Of course if you choose to attend an online program, some of these added expenses, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Globe AZ, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in makes available that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Training
Online legal assistant or paralegal schools have become more prevalent and can be an excellent option for individuals looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to those who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an added benefit, online classes can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Globe AZ?
If you live near Globe AZ or perhaps you are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Globe (Western Apache: Bésh Baa Gowąh "Place of Metal") is a city in Gila County, Arizona, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 7,532. The city is the county seat of Gila County. Globe was founded c. 1875 as a mining camp. Mining, tourism, government and retirees are most important in the present-day Globe economy.
Globe is in southern Gila County at 33°23′59″N 110°46′54″W / 33.39972°N 110.78167°W / 33.39972; -110.78167 (33.399858, −110.781570), in the valley of Pinal Creek, a north-flowing tributary of the Salt River. U.S. Route 60 passes through the city, leading northeast through the Fort Apache Indian Reservation 87 miles (140 km) to Show Low, and west 87 miles (140 km) to Phoenix. The western terminus of U.S. Route 70 is in Globe at US 60 on the east side of town; US 70 leads southeast through the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation 77 miles (124 km) to Safford and 2,385 miles (3,838 km) to its eastern terminus at Atlantic, North Carolina. Arizona State Route 77 leads south from Globe 36 miles (58 km) to Winkelman, and Roosevelt is 31 miles (50 km) to the northwest via State Route 188.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Globe has a total area of 18.2 square miles (47.1 km2), of which 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2), or 0.07%, is water. The town of Miami, Arizona, is 6 miles (10 km) west of Globe's downtown. Globe, Miami, and the unincorporated areas nearby (including Inspiration, Claypool and Central Heights-Midland City) are commonly called "Globe-Miami".
Enroll in the Best Legal Assistant Training near Globe AZ
Enrolling in the best paralegal degree program is an essential first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Globe residence. Paralegal education programs are made available in many formats and lengths. Several types of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you elect to receive your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to examine each school and make your final decision. And with the ideal education you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Globe AZ.
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